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Harmony Among the Augusti

450857.

Lucius Verus. AD 161-169. Æ Sestertius (32mm, 24.80 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck AD 161. IMP CΛES L ΛVREL VERVS ΛVG, laureate head right / CONCORD ΛVGVSTOR TR P, Marcus Aurelius standing right, holding volumen and Lucius Verus standing left, vis-à-vis, clasping right hands; S C across field, COS II in exergue. RIC III 1284 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 16-16/30; Banti 21; BMCRE 859. EF, green patina. Struck in high relief. Wonderful portrait.


Hadrian, childless and without either a successor or heir, chose Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his adopted son in AD 136, and renamed him as Lucius Aelius Caesar. Aelius was sent to the Roman province of Pannonia to serve as governor, where he died of tuberculosis in AD 138. Hadrian now chose his second choice for his heir, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Antoninus. Hadrian actually wanted Marcus Aurelius to succeed him on the throne, but realized that Aurelius was far too young, so instead he went with the highly respected Antoninus. As a condition of his adoption, and to ensure an orderly line of succession, Antoninus Pius adopted both his nephew, Marcus Aurelius, and Aelius Caesar’s son, Lucius. The relatively young Lucius would change his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, but he would later drop Commodus and add Verus after ascending to the throne, along with his adopted brother and co-ruler Marcus Aurelius. The present type depicts the two “brothers” and co-rulers clasping hands with an inscription noting the “harmony” between the two Augusti.